Hello Everyone! I am Eunkoo Lee, co-founder, and co-president of Freedom Speakers International (FSI).
Before FSI, I was living a routine life. I loved watching baseball, seeing movies, and going shopping (especially when I felt stressed from my job). People don't believe it, but I'm really shy and prefer working behind the scenes.
Then much to my surprise, I became the co-founder of FSI (founded in 2013 as TNKR).
I am really thankful to Casey Lartigue for helping me develop leadership skills. When we first began to develop this volunteer project into a real organization, I offered to be the assistant director, and he would be the director. I was so used to being behind the scenes. But he refused, and he even fired me until I was ready to be a leader, to be co-director of TNKR. And it worked!
For the first time, I have had to be a leader, not just a team member.
I have met so many nice people. We have worked directly with almost 500 North Korean refugees, educating and empowering them over the years with English language skills, public speaking opportunities and career development. Our main focus now is to partner with North Korean refugees who want to engage in public speaking or to publish books.
I have grown during the past 8 years working at FSI in various leadership roles, such as managing FSI staff, writing grants and now writing a book with a North Korean refugee. I have learned that It is not easy to establish, develop and financially sustain an organization.
I can say that FSI has changed my life! Definitely, I have become a more active person. Instead of doing just enough to keep my job, I am now co-founder and co-director of a program that does something practical to help others!
Setting up a fundraiser like this was another challenge for me. FSI's important mission gave me the fortitude to stand up to ask people to join my fundraiser. Because of FSI, I have the confidence to give this a try!
I hope that FSI will one day become a financially solid organization that can empower North Korean refugees in even more ways. North Korean refugees often tell me that FSI changed their lives. It has changed me.
I still enjoy watching baseball, seeing movies, going shopping. In addition, I am now a Ph.D. student. But now I am more of a leader who has seen how people can live better lives after they study in FSI.
Together, we can keep making a difference in the lives of others, and ourselves.
Please join my fundraiser, it will be one way to celebrate my birthday!